Step-by-Step Guide on Taxi App Development: Features And Business Model

How often do you order a taxi in the traditional way, through an operator? We think the answer is rarely or close to never. And why would you, when you have a smartphone that provides you with a lot of cool opportunities to make your life easier and comfier?

Speaking of these opportunities, today you just have to open your favorite taxi-booking mobile app to find a car (and no need to deal with the operator!). Moreover, such services allow you to take a more active part in the choice of a driver, evaluating him according to reviews and ratings.

So taxi service providers have to accept the inevitable: without investing in taxi app development, their business is unlikely to prosper anymore, it might even fail. Yeah, there is no choice: it's time to go online and mobile! 

And if you're in search of great startup ideas, an on-demand mobile application for drivers and passengers would make a wonderful option too. The main thing is to know where to start and what to look for first. And we're covering these issues in our new article.

What is a Mobile App for Taxi Services?

Taxi has long become an extremely popular and convenient way to move around large cities (and not only large ones, actually). More and more people are choosing to take advantage of this very service, and here's why:

  • Car owners don't have to scour in search of available parking spaces (which is rather challenging in metropolitan areas) or dig a vehicle out of the snow in the winter. And the opportunity to relax and have a beer with friends at a bar is also not the last thing on the pros list. 

  • If you don't belong to lucky car owners, the ability to get rid of stress (which is unavoidable when it comes to public transportation) is a huge boon too. Surely, a taxi is more expensive than, say, a bus, but the time saved and the peace of mind gained is sometimes worth it.

  • And let's not forget about the coronavirus. Under quarantine conditions, taxis are not only a more convenient and faster way to move through the city but also a safer one (in comparison with public transport).

And the online cab booking app makes the interaction between all participants in the process even more efficient and pleasant.

How taxi service apps work

The working principle of any application is extremely simple. It cannot be different, that's the beauty of digital platforms! They are intuitive, user-friendly, and require no extra steps.

And taxi apps are no exception (which should be borne in mind when starting a taxi app development). The client opens the program, confirms his location and the time of taxi delivery, indicates his special requirements, if any, sets the destination, and initiates the car search. The rest is up to digital algorithms!

To make a long story short, the application sends a request and all drivers nearby are alerted. An available one of them accepts the order and picks up the client at the specified location. Sounds great, right?

Taxi apps and their business benefits... that's the subject we're discussing from A to Z (click here and read!).

But what's so cool about taxi software solutions and the way they work? Why are we so excited about them? We’ll give you some of the most popular reasons to explain their popularity:

  • Continuous real-time tracking. Firstly, there is a possibility to monitor the movement of the car and see the location of the customer (a person in need of a ride).

  • Receiving push notifications. All participants in the process get instant and timely notifications regarding the ride details: a new order in the system, a driver change, a high traffic alert, etc.

  • Saving basic settings, which is beneficial to both drivers and passengers. 

  • AI. The best taxi apps take advantage of artificial intelligence technology and machine learning techniques. This means the user’s needs can be anticipated and met before being raised.

  • Contactless payments. Also, drivers and passengers do like the provided ability to pay online (cash is less and less popular these days).

  • Access to reviews and ratings, which we're detailing just below.

Let's dig a little deeper and talk more about the specific pros. In other words, we’d like to discuss the benefits that a cab booking app can offer to business owners, whether they are startups or long-established companies, as well as to other participants in the process. And we’ll start with them, with these very participants.

Key benefits of a taxi booking app for passengers and drivers

As a customer, you get the following options: 

  • a couple of clicks or taps, and the car is ordered!

  • the location is being determined automatically, so it's okay if you don't know the exact address where you are;

  • the better ordering process with the ability to manage its details;

  • the chance to block the driver you didn't like (if you want to exclude the possibility of a new trip with him);

  • self-regulation of the cost of the ride;

  • the ability to tip the driver if you feel like it;

  • access to information about the driver, including his rating, experience, reviews, etc.

Another taxi booking app market player is drivers. And they enjoy using online taxi apps for such reasons as:

  • instant notifications of new orders with clarifications for each;

  • no annoying calls from taxi service managers!

  • the ability to choose orders he likes;

  • a chance to improve his reputation (using the earned rating and good reviews);

  • access to reviews about passengers (so the driver can avoid unpleasant and even dangerous situations).

As for the benefits of a taxi booking app for businesses, it’s mainly about simplifying company management, reducing expenses, increasing project profitability, etc. You manage your business cost-effectively, with a minimum of staff and a maximum of earnings. Isn't this a dream come true?

Who Needs Taxi App Development Services?

So why do you need to get a taxi app (as its owner), to begin with? Why would you embark on a very high-costly venture (as any application development is rather expensive)?

There are two main cases where all your investment will pay off.

#1. Existing taxi services providers

If you have a taxi company, you've just got to go digital (if you haven't yet). Otherwise, you'll lose to your more forward-thinking competitors who have learned long ago that one needs to keep up with the times and introduce new technologies into the business to make it thrive.

Why would it work?

Mobile apps for taxi services make the process of finding and ordering a car easier, which means customers become more loyal to you and your company. Moreover, there is a chance they'll recommend you to their friends, which will lead to an increase in the client base (with the resulting growth in profits, obviously).

Of course, you'll need a large investment (as we mentioned above, the taxi mobile app development cost is high), but this is one of those times when saving is an unreasonable decision. In the long run, you'll return every penny spent with interest: not least because you'll be able to manage your business with less money and time.

#2. On-demand transport services

If you don't have your own company, but you do want to start a new business, consider the idea of delivering on-demand transportation services. 

In this case, you don't need a fleet of vehicles, your role is intermediary. All you have to do is to offer a mobile platform as a link between drivers and passengers.

There are two main ways to approach the problem:

  • A mobile program offers potential passengers a list of existing taxi companies and makes an approximate calculation of the cost of the trip (and goes no further). The application of the sort is easy to implement and therefore doesn't require significant investment. Naturally, we can't see it as a full-fledged on-demand taxi booking app development, but such an option ​is perfect if you’re on a tight budget.

  • Uber-like solution. The app searches for drivers on its own, which makes it more convenient to use. Of course, it is rather difficult (and expensive!) to implement (in addition, you have to attract drivers and convince them to register in your application), but it’s worth it.

Key Features to Create a Taxi Application

Most of the features are intuitive and predictable, so we’ll only briefly outline what you have to deal with. 

First, you need to create at least 2 versions of the application (it’s about apps for drivers and apps for passengers). Ideally, you should also add a panel to manage the program and its settings (in a global sense). 

  • Driver's version. You must provide the driver with a user-friendly working platform. Such features as order management (accept an order, change its status, etc.), GPS navigation (as an aid in building routes), accepting payments, and so on are important in this case.

  • The passenger version: a program downloaded by the user (aka passenger). It should offer those features that will help him/her order a car with maximum comfort anywhere in the city and get all the information about a future ride (who the driver is, what kind of car he has, how much the ride costs, how long it'll take, etc.). Of course, don't forget to add the ability to track the car online and other useful options.

  • Admin version. It is not enough to develop a taxi solution; also, someone has to manage it afterward. And that someone must have access to a special admin panel.

So, in the cab-booking app development process, you must create the following features (see infographic below)… 

taxi booking app development services

How to Build a Taxi App: Step-by-Step Development Guide 

Finally, we're getting to the best part of our conversation: the development process itself. The success of the entire project largely depends on the development, so don't screw it up.

How to make your own taxi app a success

  • Choosing a business model. If you have your own company with a fleet of vehicles and hired drivers, problem number one can be considered solved. Otherwise, you need to partner with existing taxi businesses or individual drivers (which is an Uber-style approach).

  • Search for a team of experts. Below, we’ll describe what you have to pay attention to when hiring a taxi app development company.

  • Application development (all the details of such a complex and multi-stage process are described in the next subsection).

This is a pretty short summary of the main steps required... Perhaps it’s worth detailing the process, right?

A more detailed guide on taxi application development

  • Key app concept. Of course, the basic message is clear: providing people with taxi services and giving drivers better job opportunities. However, that’s a very rough concept, and you need to shape it a little bit. Let's say Uber focuses on the needs of the passenger: like, the driver will pick you up from anywhere and take you wherever you say! Think about how you can pleasantly surprise your users. And it is important not only to come up with a bright idea but also to promote it (which Uber has been doing since the earliest years).

  • Competent analysis. At the second stage of online cab booking app development, it is imperative to conduct an analysis of the market, target audience, and competitors. You can read tea leaves as much as you like but it makes no sense! What's the point of guessing and being wrong? It's just a waste of your time and, eventually, money. You need real facts, and they can only be provided by an analysis of the modern market and its main players. So, study the latest trends, find out what your user wants today, determine the strengths and weaknesses of competitors.

    1. The analysis performed will provide you with new data to help you improve and finalize your application concept. You'll be able to understand what else to add (or what to remove) to launch the best app for outstation cab booking.

  • Financing the project. If you don't have a budget to start your project, you had better find someone willing to invest in taxi app development. You can run a crowdfunding campaign or make venture capital funds interested in your startup idea.. who knows, what if you get lucky? 

    1. The cost to build an app of any type is rather high, but what should you focus on when budgeting? You'll see a lot of useful information on this very issue in our article at the link just above.

  • Feature list. Let's say you have a great market data-driven concept and the money to bring it to life. Now it's time to draw a list of features, which would help turn your idea into a working mobile app for taxi services. Perhaps later you'll expand its functionality, but you need to start somewhere. 

  • Hiring a team of experts. Above, we promised to give you a couple of tips on how to choose the right taxi booking app development company. We always try to keep our word, so here they are:

    1. Start by looking at the team's portfolio. Do they have similar projects?

      1. Below, we’re sharing our piece of expertise with you!

    2. What about the experience? How long have they been in the digital market?

      1. By the way, our team is very experienced: more than 10 years on the market.

    3. Now pay attention to their approach to web and mobile development (they probably describe it on one of the pages of their site).

      1. And don’t hesitate to read about our way to deal with the website and mobile application development.

    4. Try to contact them and discuss your project. You’ll soon see if you find a common language (which matters a lot too).

  • UI/UX. Application design creation is one of the important development stages. It determines how your program will look and how convenient it will be to use. To be precise, we create an intuitive UI to provide a positive UX.

  • The development process, which is, as you can imagine, one of the most difficult and long-term stages of the entire project. We won't go into all the details (you don't really need them), we'll just say this phase determines the taxi app development cost (not totally but in many ways).

    1. One of the key aspects of mobile development is choosing a technology stack. Below, we’ve provided an example of what our team uses to create a high-quality taxi app.

  • Testing the application. Long gone are the days when customers didn’t understand why to spend time and money testing software. Obviously, you cannot launch a digital product unless the QA team tested it first (what if it doesn't work as smoothly as expected?).

  • App launch. Everything seems to be ready, and you can publish your app in App Store and Google Play (which is harder than it sounds, by the by, so make sure you're doing it right).

  • Promotion. Okay, the project is ready and published… but where is the money? How to make taxi booking apps profitable? The only solution is to start marketing your product. Launch several advertising campaigns, each of which will target a specific group of users (drivers, passengers, administrators).

    1. And ideally, start thinking about a promotion strategy long before the application launch.

  • Product improvement. To never be 100% satisfied with the result is the main secret to the success of any business. And when it comes to online taxi booking software, it's about improving it on a regular basis. Collect feedback from your users, analyze their behavior, draw up a plan to update your app... and act on it! Do your best to fully meet the needs of your target audience.

how to make taxi booking app

By the by, we have some good advice for those who want to save a little (which may be relevant with a limited budget): start small and develop a mobile taxi app’s MVP.

The MVP approach assumes that you first launch the taxi booking app solution with a minimum of features, and add new ones as the project gains popularity and becomes in demand (hence, it begins to bring you some profit). Plus, an MVP is a great way to get users’ feedback on your product and improve it early on (before it’s too late).

We describe MVP models in much more detail in our other article (by link).

Challenges in Taxi Booking App Development Process

When starting a mobile taxi app development, you must put up with possible pitfalls along the way. The task before you is risky and challenging, but the reward is high too if you do it right.

Dealing with system loads

Sooner or later you’ll have to deal with a large amount of data (and the more popular the application, the more of this data). And there is a risk your system won't handle the load, which means the application might work slowly and incorrectly (and even crash!).

The result is user dissatisfaction (surely!). And dissatisfied users are less loyal, so you won't be able to monetize them (at least, easily).

Thus, you have no choice but to offer a taxi app development solution, which is ready to handle peak loads. 

Let’s give you a couple of tips:

  • Must-have is a powerful server (which you can clearly guess yourself, right?);

  • Analyze your market and determine the maximum workload your project might face. Say, if your taxi company operates within a small town, that's one thing. And if you intend to cover the entire United States, the story is quite different;

  • Be sure to figure out the data storage: where and what kind of information you plan to store, so as not to overload the server with data;

  • Of course, you need to choose the right technology development stack;

  • But most importantly, don’t forget to test the system before launching the application (to check if it can handle the loads).

Sounds complicated, right? But that’s why the taxi booking app development services are so expensive.

Location tracking correctness

One of the key problems of applications that deal with ordering a car is the inaccuracy of determining the location of the user or vehicle. As a result, the driver cannot find where the passenger is, both of them are angry and frustrated.

To avoid such an outcome, Uber connects to the server every few seconds and therefore provides the most correct location data. And if you have an idea to create its taxi booking app clone, keep in mind that you’ll have to do the same.

Application scalability

Perhaps, initially, your application will process a small number of orders, but over time, it may develop into something bigger (after all, you're hoping to create the best cab booking app in the market, right?). Therefore, you must ensure your project's scalability at the very start.

A good option is to split the program architecture into several main components, such as:

  • services, which work with location information (storage, processing, etc.);

  • real-time systems that deal with any data, which is being constantly updated (real-time data). Usually, it's about vehicle tracking, notifications of all sorts, and the like;

  • business logic related to payments and other workflows.

With the described approach, you ensure that if the system crashes (which is possible with the scaling of the project and the accompanying increase in the load), you won’t lose all data at once (it would be tragic, wouldn’t it?).

Payment processing

Surely, your taxi booking solution will provide users with the possibility to pay online. Today, such a feature is crucial, without it, there is no chance to rival other market players. And as if that wasn't bad enough, you'll also have to think about how to properly protect your users' payment information... which is quite a challenge, we must say!

Of course, there are many payment systems to help you, and they’ll do the bulk of the work. But you, in turn, must make sure you’ve chosen the right payment solution. And do your part to secure user data too (say, it’d be foolish to store credit card information locally).

Processing unplanned stops

In your imagination, you draw the perfect picture: a user opens your online taxi booking application, finds a car, and gets to the specified destination in the time your service has predicted. However, in reality, things may be different.

How about rush hours when the car is in a traffic jam? Or unplanned stops on the road? How to calculate the time and, accordingly, the ride price correctly?

Well, that's tricky, and you have to figure out how to fix this problem.

Interested in our approach to taxi booking mobile app development? Follow the link and read all about it.

Don't let these challenges intimidate you, okay? After all, you don't have to solve the problems described on your own, you should hire a taxi app development company. And it'll be up to the team you've chosen to cope with difficulties.

And speaking of such a team… why not choose Agilie? We’ve been in the mobile applications market for a long time and have suitable projects.

Our Taxi App Development Solution

We have a successful taxi application project in our portfolio. It has a bright and sonorous name - Shark Taxi - and is highly popular among users.

We started working on the application almost 10 years ago. Since then, we've been supporting and improving it, because our goal is the best taxi app ever (and we're close to the goal). To get things right, we monitor the latest IT trends and implement those that can make the project even more profitable for our client.  

Our taxi app solution means… 

  • user-friendly UI / UX;

  • 3 custom panels (admins, drivers, and passengers);

  • full compliance with user expectations.

The challenges described above are familiar to us firsthand. And we've managed to find a way to solve each of the problems.

Wanna more details on Shark Taxi? Feel free to follow the link and read our project description.

Now you know how to get taxi apps to work properly and bring you profit (and how to develop them in the first place). Are you willing to take the risk? Then don’t hesitate and act right away! The taxi booking app development cost might be high, but you end up with a successful and monetized business.

We offer our expert assistance. We’re up to any challenge and ready to prove our qualifications in practice.
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